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The CISS maintains separate games for deaf athletes based on their numbers, their special communication needs on the sports field, and the social interaction that is a vital part of sports. Organized since 1924 by the Comite International des Sports des Sourds, CISS (The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf), the first Summer Deaflympics were held in Paris. The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, IOC.To qualify for the games, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their "better ear".In the following years, a pidgin developed as the delegates from different language backgrounds communicated with each other, and in 1973, a WFD committee ("the Commission of Unification of Signs") published a standardized vocabulary.They selected "naturally spontaneous and easy signs in common use by deaf people of different countries" to make the language easy to learn.

Subsequently, it was developed informally by deaf and hearing interpreters, and came to include more grammar — especially linguistic features that are thought to be universal among sign languages, such as role shifting and the use of classifiers.International Sign (IS) is a contact variety of sign language used in a variety of different contexts, particularly at international meetings such as the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) congress, events such as the Deaflympics, in video clips produced by Deaf people and watched by other Deaf people from around the world, and informally when travelling and socialising. It is not as conventionalised or complex as natural sign languages, and has a limited lexicon.International Sign is a term used by the World Federation of the Deaf and other international organisations.Although data collection has improved in recent years, several aspects of general hearing loss in the United States continue to be problematic to quantify.One tendency feeding this problem is the frequent lack of distinction between types, onsets, and severity levels of hearing loss; one often sees either "individuals with hearing loss" with a single line of percentages or totals, or, if one is lucky, one may see two lines: "severe" and "not severe." Such is the state of deaf statistics within the federal government.

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